DATES ANNOUNCED FOR PRESIDENT’S FIRE PREVENTION CONFERENCE
To Be Held in Washington on May 6-8; Attendance of 2,000 Expected
FACED with an average annual toll of 10,000 deaths from fire, together with property loss which exceeded $560,000,000 in 1946, President Truman is sponsoring a nation-wide effort to cope with the fire menace.
The President’s Conference on Fire Prevention is now past the formative stage and a volunteer staff is at work preparing for the meeting, which will he held May 6-8 in the Departmental Auditorium in Washington.
Representatives of municipal and State governments, Federal agencies, and of non-official organizations with a basic interest in fire prevention have been organized into a coordinating committee to draft an agenda for the Conference and to appoint committees which will prepare recommendations to be submitted to the Conference as a whole.
Especially because of his past experience as Chairman of the President’s Highway Safety Conference, held last May, President Truman has appointed Major General Philip B. Fleming, Federal Works Administrator and Administrator of the Office of Temporary Controls, to be General Chairman of the fire prevention conference. W. E. Reynolds, Commissioner of Public Buildings, Federal Works Agency, has been named Chairman of the Coordinating Committee and A. Bruce Bielaski. assistant general manager of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, has been named Executive Director.
“The fire toll has been rising since 1934, and 1946 was the most destructive year in our recent history with a property loss of $561,487,000” said General Fleming. This was 23 per cent greater than in 1945. December, 1946, showed the heaviest fire loss for any single month in the last 16 years, $58,094,000. This unnecessary, appalling waste of lives and property can be reduced by an all-out nation-wide effort.
A staff tinder Commissioner Reynolds’ direction, with offices in the Federal Works Agency Building, will handle details relating to the Conference. Invitations will be sent to governors, mayors and city managers. State fire marshals and municipal fire chiefs, and law enforcement officials, and to representatives of non-official organizations working in the fire prevention field.
Committees will be appointed to make advance studies of special aspects of the fire prevention problem, including enforcement, law revision, building codes, inspection, firefighting services, education and publicity, and to draft recommendations for the Conference, General Fleming said.
More than 2,000 delegates are expected to attend the Conference, representing Federal departments, State, county and municipal governments and business and civic organizations with a basic interest in the fire prevention problem.
The Conference will be in session for three days during which, it is hoped, a cordinated program will be formulated that will revitalize the national effort to reduce death and financial loss from fire.
Members of the Coordinating Committee appointed to draft plans and policies for the Conference met with President Truman at The White House on January 28, 1947, for a preliminary discussion.
Conference headquarters is located at Room 7006, Federal Works Building, Washington 25, D. C.
The Coordinating Committee at its meeting on January 28, 1947, adopted the following:
The objectives of the Conference are to emphasize to the public the everpresent danger of fire to human life and material resources and to intensify the work of fire safety in every community.
Essential to the accomplishment of such objectives are:
- Universal acceptance by the highest officials of the States and municipalities of their direct responsibility for fire safety. The acceptance of the same principle by Federal executives charged with the responsibility for Federal properties is requisite.
- Public support from all possible sources behind such officials in accomplishing the enactment and enforcement of adequate laws and ordinances for fire prevention and fire protection.
Scope of Commiffees
Statements of scope of activities for the six committees of the Conference, as approved by the Coordinating Committee at its meeting on January 28, 1947, are as follows:
BUILDING CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION AND PROTECTION
To study and recommend action relative to (a) building codes and the regulation of building operations, including such safety devices as seem warranted in places of public assembly, abode or employment, (b) administration of fire safety regulations, and (c) the financing of necessary structural improvements by owners and managers of properties.
FIRE PREVENTION EDUCATION
To explore ways and means of fa) intensifying and enlarging educational aides for elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, including extension courses and teacher education institutions, and to develop wider uses of such educational aides, (b) stimulating students’ interest in the work of local officials in the field of fire prevention and fire protection, and (c) increasing the sense of responsibility of local officials for safety to life in institutions under their control.
THE FIRE-FIGHTING SERVICES
To analyze the present situation as to the adequacy of fire-fighting facilities and personnel, and to make recommendations for needed improvement; to appraise the present facilities for training, to recommend means of improving and augmenting such facilities, and to stress tbe necessity of modern organized training of all fire department personnel; to evaluate the fire prevention work now implemented by fire departments, and the coordination of such work with that of other agencies both governmental and civic; to study and recommend incentives, plans and other devices as a basis for increased support of the fire services; and, to study and suggest means of obtaining fiscal aid and a better understanding of the requirements and problems of modern fire departments and of the services they are expected to render.
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LAWS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
To explore (a) the question of Statelaws that will provide minimum standards of regulations for fire safety and will provide for the adoption of municipal ordinances that will augment such minimum standards, and (h) the legality of retroactive features of laws and ordinances pertaining to fire safety and to present appropriate recommendations. ORGANIZED PUBLIC SUPPORT
To recommend a plan which will effectuate the conclusion of the Conference with specific steps, hoth immediate and long range, that may be taken to intensify public approval and support of the recommendations of the Conference; and, through a representative sub-committee report one year hence on the progress made by the States and Municipalities with particular reference to the adoption and enforcement of suitable laws and ordinances and the improvement of existing fire services.
To emphasize the importance of continuous research in the field of scientificdevelopment and in human behavior with respect to fire and safetyto life, thus providing information for modernization of laws, ordinances and regulations.